Over the last few months, we have been smoking and analyzing a very unique cigar that hails from the Dominican Republic but is made specifically for the European market – the Balmoral Royal Selection Anejo 18 Rothschild Masivo. (aka BRS Anejo 18 RM)
Made by the Royal Agio Cigar Company, this cigar’s big highlight is its use of an 18-year aged wrapper consisting of a special, select grade Brazilian Arapiraca tobacco from 1994. But before we get in to the review itself, let’s explore the company behind the cigar.
Royal Agio Cigars (or simply, Agio Cigars) is one of the leading cigar manufactures in Europe. This Dutch company was founded in 1904 by Jacques Wintermans and is still fully held and managed by the Wintermans family today. (4th generation)
According to information from Agio’s corporate office, they are the 4th largest cigar company in the world – with a total production of over 750 million cigars sold in over 100 countries. Brands offered by Royal Agio Cigars include Mehari’s, Panter, De Huifkar and Balmoral.
On the European market Balmoral is known for their Sumatra Selection and Dominican Selection. The Sumatra is a typical Dutch cigar made with tobaccos from Indonesia, while the Dominican Selection was the very first machine-made cigar using all long-filler (handmade) tobaccos.
Unlike the US market, Europe is known for a segment called ‘premium short-filler’ which can be stored outside of the humidor. In that segment, Balmoral is one of the top, most respected brands. However, it is their hand-made premium Balmoral Royal Selection that is the flagship of the company. That being said, let’s take a look at what the Balmoral Royal Selection Anejo 18 Rothschild Masivo has to offer.
- Name: Royal Selection Anejo 18 Rothschild Masivo
- Brand: Balmoral
- Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Agio Cigar Factory, Pedro de Macoris
- Size: 125mm x 55
- Shape: Robusto
- Wrapper: Brazilian Maduro
- Binder: Dominican Olor
- Filler: Dominican Olor (Ligero), Nicaraguan (Ligero) and tobacco from Brazil Bahia
- Strength: Medium
- MSRP: $10.95 US ($8.50 Euro)
- Production: Limited Release 500 boxes of 20 cigars per box (10,000)
VISUAL: Right off the bat this cigar is stunning to look at with its dual band and leathery looking wrapper with varying shades of brown. The primary band is quite intricate consisting of a grey and white two-tone background with a grey shield in the center. A gold cursive ‘B’ sits inside the shield and the word ‘Balmoral’ sits along the top while a thin shiny red strip lines the very edge and runs along the bottom of the band. The words ‘Balmoral Royal Selection’ and ‘Limited Edition’ are anchored on both sides of the primary band. Also present are gold dots that wrap around the band in three locations, top, middle, and bottom. A secondary white band adorns the foot of the cigar, consisting of two gold stripes and the words ‘Anejo 18′ and ‘Rothschild Masivo’ in grey lettering. In all, the presentation of this cigar is striking and pleasant to look at.
FLAVOR: Prelight: I opt for a straight cut and remove about 1/4 inch from the cap. On the initial dry draw I am greeted with a soft, creamy sweetness with just a hint of earth. In typical fashion, I take a moment to smell the unlit foot and shaft of the cigar. There’s a pleasant, unique sweetness coming off this aged wrapper mixed with a mild barnyard scent as well. Light: For the light, I chose my single-torch Xikar Flash. (black matte of course) I slowly toast the foot, bringing it to a soft orange glow – and then, take that very first puff. The sweetness from the initial pre-light immediately greets me on the first draw – coating the tip of my tongue with that signature tobacco sweetness “tingle”. A distinct caramel flavor emerges and is soon accompanied by hints of coffee-with-cream. The combination of aged wrapper, binder and fillers all come together perfectly – like a favorite home-grown recipe. I classify the initial strength as being on the lighter side of medium – soft, smooth, sweet and enjoyable. As we move in to the “heart” of the cigar, a distinct earthiness soon emerges – blending nicely with hints of cedar and the sweet, creamy notes from before. Strength also begins to increase – nothing too sudden, just an even gradual movement from left to right.
EXPERIENCE: Burn: As the BRS Anejo 18 RM continues to burn, the flavors continue to pick up and overall strength transitions to medium. Depth and complexity have also weaved their way in to the mix. The ash reveals shades and colors that remind me of many Viaje cigars I’ve smoked – a dark, marbled texture with varying shades of greys and browns mixed in. The burn itself isn’t quite razor-sharp, but it does maintain evenness from start to finish. The ash itself is firm - easily holding on until a decision is made to flick it off at about the 2″ mark. Draw: This cigar’s draw can best be summed up with one word – flawless. Those who know me understand how finicky I am when it comes to draw. I’m not a fan of “working” a cigar. The thought of drinking a milkshake with a straw is just not my thing. I also don’t like a cigar with “no resistance” or one that is open and effortless. There has to be a balance between the two, and a number of manufacturers struggle in this area. As for the Balmoral Royal Selection Anejo 18 Rothchil Masivo, each cigar we smoked had the same flawless draw with just a slight hint of resistance.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Before smoking this cigar, my first impressions were “this will be classic, mild smoke – consistent with what European cigar enthusiasts tend to gravitate towards.” And early on, the cigar fit that bill to a tee. In fact, had I smoked this cigar blind-folded, I would have guessed the cigar hailed from Cuba. I found the sweet, creamy caramel notes mixed alongside the earth and cedar strongly resembled a cross between a Cuban Por Larrañaga and H.Upmann Magnum. I ended up smoking 5 cigars for this particular review – each one presented me with an identical flavor profile and fantastic draw. It should also be mentioned that no touch-ups were required on these cigars. They burned extremely well and remained firm down to the very end. With total production limited to just 500 boxes, this cigar will not take the world by storm. But for those enthusiasts who enjoy something a little off the beaten path, this cigar is worth seeking out and adding to your collection. Its a cigar that tells a really nice story – starting out smooth and sweet, then transitioning to a more earthy and hardy cigar of medium strength. Overall, I found the Balmoral Royal Selection Anejo 18 Rothchild Masivo to be one gem of a find – and with that, I present my final score. Final Score: 93